This past summer, Monday evenings at Sorauren Farmers' Market has been a highlight of our week. It's been a time to connect with our neighbours, let the kids run free (and run wild!), take a night off of cooking, and support local farmers, food producers, and not-for-profit food organizations. That's where this curried chickpea dish comes in. It is inspired by our favourite market meal of Curried Chickpeas and Peas and Rice served up by AfriCan Food Basket.
I make all kinds of curries all the time, but I think my son's growing 'selectivity' (more like wanting to control everything right now), means that come mealtime, I often turn to the tried and tested sure things. So when choosing the amazingly flavour-rich offering from AfricCan Food Basket of peas and rice, curried chickpeas, sautéed callaloo, and plantain, which my son devours completely; I knew I needed to get this into our regular meal rotation.
AfriCan Food Basket is a not-for-profit that serves to offer services and support to advance food equity amongst the African Canadian community. Their work helps communities acquire self-sufficiency skills, while also accessing nutrient-powered organic food – something that is so critical to ongoing health and wellbeing for everyone. (Learn more about their work here.)
Yes, we plan to continue enjoying it made for us as often as we can, but given how much my little one loves it, I also wanted an option that was lunch-ready.
What I love about this meal is that it is a "set it and forget it" one. It's also so easy to hide veggies or finish off veggie ends when you don't have enough to use as a side dish. I also wanted this to work as a single container, full meal that my son could easily take for lunch.
Inspired by the Caribbean flavours like the one we get at the market, I went bold with spices. I also made a few modifications like adding kidney beans alongside the chickpeas for a little more diversity in the bean-nutrient profile. As well, once the rice was cooked, I put it right in the main pot of curry, put the lid on, and let the rice soak in the extra liquid.
I also added some veggies to the curry itself – in the batch pictured, I added carrots and some sweet potato and white potato. This also works well with adding cauliflower, eggplant, turnips, and anything else that cooks down soft and isn't recognizable by three-year-olds.
Overall, it creates a hearty, stick-to-the-ribs, nutrient-power-packed meal that can be served hot or at room temperature. The flavours are rich, and the curry spice itself is packed with powerful anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive benefits.
This one is winning all around!
Yield: Serves 6-8
- 1 cup of short grain brown rice, soaked 2–4 hours
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 2 Tbsp curry powder (recipe The UnDiet Cookbook, page 186)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3 carrots, cut into coins
- 1 potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 2 cups cooked or 1 15-ounce can organic chickpeas
- 2 cups cooked or 1 15-ounce can kidney beans
- 1 14 ounce can organic coconut milk
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- cayenne or hot sauce to desired taste
- lime wedges for garnish
- Prepare soaked rice as directed on rice packet.
- In a medium sauce pan, heat oil and lightly sautée onion (about 5 minutes).
- Add garlic and ginger and cook another 3 minutes.
- Stir in curry powder and parprika and mix until everything is well-coated.
- Add carrots, potato, tomato, chickpeas, kidney beans and mix well.
- Add coconut milk, salt, and optional spice and cook covered for 20 minutes or until carrots and potato are fork tender.
- Transfer cooked rice into the pot of cooked curried chickpeas, stir until well-mixed and cover. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving with a wedge of lime.
- Can package into individual servings and freeze for up to two months.